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Stowe, Harriet Beecher

Harriet Beecher Stowe
Born Harriet Elisabeth Beecher
June 14, 1811(1811-06-14)
Litchfield, Connecticut, United States
Died July 1, 1896(1896-07-01) (aged 85)
Hartford, Connecticut, United States
Pen name Christopher Crowfield
Nationality American
Genres Historical fiction
Notable work(s) Uncle Tom's Cabin
Spouse(s) Calvin Ellis Stowe
Children Eliza Taylor, Harriet Beecher, Henry Ellis, Frederick William, Georgiana May, Samuel Charles, and Charles Edward

Harriet Beecher Stowe (June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American abolitionist and author. Her novel Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852) depicted life for African-Americans under slavery; it reached millions as a novel and play, and became influential in the United States and United Kingdom. It energized anti-slavery forces in the American North, while provoking widespread anger in the South. She wrote more than 20 books, including novels, three travel memoirs, and collections of articles and letters. She was influential both for her writings and her public stands on social issues of the day.


[edit] Life

Early portrait of Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1853

Harriet Elisabeth Beecher was born in Litchfield, Connecticut on June 14, 1811. She was the middle daughter of three born to outspoken religious leader Lyman Beecher and Roxana Foote, a deeply religious woman who died when Stowe was only four years old. Her older sister was the educator and author, Catharine Beecher, and her younger sister was Isabella, who married the attorney John Hooker and had a family. They had seven brothers, all of whom became ministers: including Henry Ward Beecher, Charles Beecher, and Edward Beecher.

Harriet enrolled in the seminary (girls' school) run by her sister Catharine, where she received a traditionally "male" education in the classics, including study of languages and mathematics. At the age of 21, she moved to Cincinnati, Ohio to join her father, who had become the president of Lane Theological Seminary.

[edit] Marriage and family

In 1836 she married Calvin Ellis Stowe, a widower and professor at the seminary who was several years older than she. He was an ardent critic of slavery, and the Stowes supported the Underground Railroad, temporarily housing several fugitive slaves in their home. They had seven children together, including twin daughters.

They moved to Brunswick, Maine, where Calvin taught at Bowdoin College for several years. Later they lived in Hartford, Connecticut for years, and started wintering in Mandarin, Florida.

In 1850, Congress passed the Fugitive Slave Law, prohibiting assistance to fugitives. Stowe was moved to present her objections on paper, and in June 1851, when she was 40, the first installment of her Uncle Tom's Cabin was published in the antislavery journal National Era. Its emotional portrayal of the impact of slavery captured the nation's attention. It added to the debate about abolition and slavery, and aroused opposition in the South.

Stowe died on July 1, 1896, at age eighty-five, in Hartford, Connecticut. She is buried in the historic cemetery at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts.

[edit] Landmarks related to Harriet Beecher Stowe

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Cincinnati, Ohio is the former home of her father Lyman Beecher on the former campus of the Lane Seminary. Her father was a preacher who was greatly affected by the pro-slavery Cincinnati Riots of 1836. Harriet Beecher Stowe lived here until her marriage. It is open to the public and operated as an historical and cultural site, focusing on Harriet Beecher Stowe, the Lane Seminary and the Underground Railroad. The site also presents African-American history.[1]

In the 1870s and 1880s, Stowe and her family wintered in Mandarin, Florida, now a suburb of modern consolidated Jacksonville, on the St. Johns River. Stowe wrote Palmetto Leaves while living in Mandarin, arguably an eloquent piece of promotional literature directed at Florida's potential Northern investors at the time.[2] The book was published in 1873 and describes Northeast Florida and its residents. In 1870, Stowe created an integrated school in Mandarin for children and adults. This predated the national movement toward integration by more than a half century. The marker commemorating the Stowe family is located across the street from the former site of their cottage. It is on the property of the Community Club, at the site of a church where Stowe's husband once served as a minister.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Brunswick, Maine is where Stowe wrote Uncle Tom's Cabin. She and her husband lived here while he worked at Bowdoin College. Although local interest has been strong to preserve the house as a museum, it has long been in private ownership and operated as an inn and German restaurant. It most recently changed ownership in 1999 for $865,000.

The Harriet Beecher Stowe House in Hartford, Connecticut is the house where Stowe lived for the last 23 years of her life. It was next door to the house of fellow author Mark Twain. In this 5,000 sq ft (460 m2) cottage-style house, there are many of Beecher Stowe's original items and items from the time period. In the research library, which is open to the public, there are numerous letters and documents from the Beecher family. The house is opened to the public and offers house tours on the half hour.

In 1833, during Stowe's time in Cincinnati, the city was afflicted with a serious cholera epidemic. To avoid illness, Stowe made a visit to Washington, Kentucky, a major community of the era just south of Maysville. She stayed with the Marshall Key family, one of whose daughters was a student at Lane Seminary. It is recorded that Mr. Key took her to see a slave auction, as they were frequently held in Maysville. Scholars believe she was strongly moved by the experience. The Marshall Key home still stands in Washington. Key was a prominent Kentuckian; his visitors also included Henry Clay and Daniel Webster.(Calvert and Klee, Towns of Mason County [KY], LCCN 86-62637, 1986, Maysville and Mason County Library, Historical, and Scientific Association.)

[edit] Legacy and honors

  • Stowe is honored with a feast day on the liturgical calendar of the Episcopal Church (USA) on July 1.
  • On June 13, 2007, the United States Postal Service issued a 75¢ Distinguished Americans series postage stamp in her honor.
  • In early 2010, Stowe was proposed by the Ohio Historical Society as a finalist in a statewide vote for inclusion in Statuary Hall at the United States Capitol.

[edit] Partial list of works

  • The Mayflower; or, Sketches of Scenes and Characters Among the Descendants of the Pilgrims (1834)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin (1852)
  • A Key to Uncle Tom's Cabin (1853)
  • Dred, A Tale of the Great Dismal Swamp (1856)
  • The Minister's Wooing (1859)
  • Agnes of Sorrento (1862) (reading online)
  • The Pearl of Orr's Island (1862)
  • Old Town Folks (1869)
  • Little Pussy Willow (1870)
  • Lady Byron Vindicated (1870)
  • My Wife and I (1871)
  • Pink and White Tyranny (1871)
  • Woman in Sacred History (1873)
  • Palmetto Leaves (1873)
  • We and Our Neighbors (1875)
  • Poganuc People (1878)
  • The Poor Life (1890)

[edit] As Christopher Crowfield

  • House and Home Papers (1865)
  • Little Foxes (1866)
  • The Chimney Corner (1868)

[edit] See also

Gloriole blur.svg Saints portal
  • Abolitionism
  • Origins of the American Civil War
  • Semi-Colon Club
  • Slavery

[edit] References and further reading

  • Adams, John R. (1963). Harriet Beecher Stowe. Twayne Publishers, Inc.. Library of Congress Catalog Card No. 63-17370. 
  • Jeanne Boydston, Mary Kelley, and Anne Margolis, The Limits of Sisterhood: The Beecher Sisters on Women's Rights and Woman's Sphere (U of North Carolina Press, 1988),
  • Matthews, Glenna. "'Little Women' Who Helped Make This Great War", in Gabor S. Boritt, ed. Why the Civil War Came, Oxford University Press
  • Gossett, Thomas F. Uncle Tom’s Cabin and American Culture. Southern Methodist University Press: 1985.
  • Hedrick, Joan D. Harriet Beecher Stowe: A Life. Oxford University Press: 1994, the main scholarly biography
  • Rourke, Constance Mayfield. Trumpets of Jubilee: Henry Ward Beecher, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Lyman Beecher, Horace Greeley, P.T. Barnum (1927).
  • Stowe, Charles Edward. The Life of Harriet Beecher Stowe: Compiled from her letters and journals. (1889).
  • Thulesius, Olav (2001). Harriet Beecher Stowe in Florida, 1867-1884. McFarland and Company, Inc.. ISBN 0-7864-0932-0. 
  • Sundquist, Eric J. ed. New Essays on Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Cambridge University Press: 1986.
  • Weinstein, Cindy. The Cambridge Companion to Harriet Beecher Stowe. Cambridge UP, 2004. ISBN 978-0-521-53309-6
  • Wilson, Edmund. Patriotic Gore: Studies in the Literature of the American Civil War (1962) pp 3–58
  • Stowe, Harriet Beecher: Three Novels (Kathryn Kish Sklar, ed.) (Library of America, 1982) ISBN 978-0-94045001-1
  • Fritz, Jean. Harriet Beacher Stowe and The Beecher Preachers

[edit] Other sources

[edit] Notes

  1. "Stowe House". Retrieved 2009-07-27. 
  2. Thulesius, Olav. Harriet Beecher Stowe in Florida, 1867 to 1884, Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Co, 2001

[edit] External links

[edit] Sister projects



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